If you have noticed your dog's paw pads have thickened or a crust has developed on their nose, they may be suffering from idiopathic hyperkeratosis. This condition typically appears in middle-aged and senior dogs. Younger dogs can also develop hyperkeratosis, however, it is much less common. While hyperkeratosis is considered non-emergency, it can be painful and possibly impede proper mobility or allow other infections to develop as the fissures or cracks deepen. It is recommended to discuss this condition with your veterinarian, as it may be the result of a more serious problem.
Humans and dogs have an outer layer of skin that contains a protein called keratin. The keratin is what protects the underlying dog skin. Similar to humans, dogs should naturally produce more keratin as a response to pressure or inflammation. In the human body, calluses will develop from prolonged pressure or exposure; such as a carpenter or mechanic who uses hand tools, a foot continuous rubbing against the heel of a shoe or the fingertips of a guitar player.
Hyperkeratosis will develop on a dog as a rough, raised, thick crust of skin or it can appear as a tentacle-like growth on their ears, paws, or nose. These abnormal growths are a result of too much keratin being produced and are sometimes a sign of an underlying medical issue with your canine companion.
Often it is unknown what causes hyperkeratosis in a dog and there are certain breeds, such as bulldogs, pugs and cocker spaniels that are predisposed to the condition. Most dogs who develop hyperkeratosis will have the condition for life, and in most cases, it will not affect their quality or longevity of life. However, there are times when this condition develops on your dog's paws, it can affect their gait and cause significant pain. If you notice these growths on your dog's paws, they should be treated right away.
Solva-Ker Gel, a product from VetriMax Veterinary Products, contains microencapsulated salicylic acid with urea. This is a grease-less topical gel that aids in the treatment of hyperkeratosis. Once you have ruled out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing these growths on your pet, Solva-Ker Gel can be applied to these areas to help reduce or eliminate these crusts developing on your dog's skin.
Other medical conditions that could result in the development of hyperkeratosis in a dog include:
- Papilloma virus infection
- Zinc-responsive Dermatosis
- Canine Distemper virus
- Pemphigus foliaceus
- Hepatocutaneous syndrome
- Congenital disorders of keratinization or cornification
All of the above conditions are more complex, but if these conditions exist in your dog, treating them could manage the hyperkeratosis issue.
Hyperkeratosis of a Dog's Paws
Hyperkeratosis in a dog's paw will typically result in keratin fronds resembling hairy or crusty-horned growths. These growths can develop on your dog's paws, ears, or nose. In some cases, the growths will also appear on a dog's elbows. Just like your dog's nails and hair, the excess keratin growths do not contain any blood or nerve endings. It is safe to trim back any excess growths with a nail clipper or mechanical removal with a rotary tool. You should receive veterinarian approval before doing this procedure.
If you notice these growths on your dog's paws, and your veterinarian has ruled out any underlying medical issues, you can soften them with a warm (not hot) bath. Adding Epsom Salt in the water will provide additional aid. Have your pet soak their paws for about fifteen minutes, after which you should dry the paws completely.
Once your dog's paws are dry, you can apply VetriMax Solva-Ker Gel. This gel will soften the growth and alleviate any pain or discomfort. Apply the Solva-Ker Gel once a day, preferably after you've cleaned or soaked your dog's paws. Rub a small amount of gel (enough to cover the affected area) completely into the skin so you cannot see any excess medication. Upon visible signs of improvement, begin to reduce the frequency of applications to 2-3 times weekly, or as directed by your veterinarian, thereafter, perhaps once a week is all that will be needed to maintain a normal epidermis.
Where to Find Other Dog Skin MedicationsVetriMax has more than twenty years of experience in the animal health industry. Using the latest ingredient-delivery technologies, our products are clinically tested and expertly created to make sure your pet's skin and health receive maximum benefits. Contact us today and learn how we are dedicated to improving the lives of pets and of those who care for them.